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Cover crops, usually grown between the harvest and planting season of the main cash crop, are increasingly popular on America’s farms. From 2012 to 2017, their usage jumped by 50 percent to 6.2 million hectares. The main reason is sustainability. Cover crops make soil healthier. They reduce erosion and help restore nutrients and carbon, and create the conditions where soil can better hold moisture.
A new study by agro-ecologists Gavin McNicol and Rebecca Ryals shows how off-site composting of human waste is a full-cycle sanitation solution that increases safety, sustainability, even jobs. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and waste-borne illnesses—all while producing an effective fertilizer for agriculture.
For centuries, breadfruit has served as a major staple food in the Pacific Islands, and starting 200 years ago has spread widely across the global tropics. Lauded as a crop that could potentially transform tropical agriculture and address global hunger, breadfruit has high productivity, an excellent nutritional profile, and is a long-lived tree—whereas virtually all other world staples are annual crops.
Wagyu, a Japanese breed of cattle, produces high-quality meat prized by chefs the world over. Unfortunately for steak lovers, Wagyu are also known for having poor reproductive rates. But Kyle Caires is on a mission to change that. He just took the next step forward in his long-term quest to improve the reproductive technologies of cattle with his latest paper.
Why and how do plants grow the way they do, and can we change them? This question lies at the heart of Dr. Michael G. Muszynski’s research in CTAHR’s Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences department. Now he’s researching how the shapes of plant leaves can be altered through the plant hormone cytokinin.